Decoding the IPM Interview

IPM Interviews


Looking back at my IPM interview experiences still sends a chill down my spine. Interviews can be intimidating at times, especially when you do not categorize yourself as an “extremely extroverted” or “ultra-confident personality”. But as the saying goes that practice makes a man perfect, it holds up even when interviews are concerned. In order to get into the IIMs for the IPM course, the interviews are a very crucial step. This is because they are looking for people who are not just good academically but also good when it comes to their communication skills.

The IPM course aims to transform the students into contemporary managers who can present themselves well and communicate effectively. This is why the interview process is an extremely integral part of the selection processes of the IIMs. From my personal experience, I can vouch for one thing you should never bluff in an interview. If you do not know an answer you should politely say so and also mention that you will look up the answer after the interview. This is because bluffing gives a very wrong impression of the candidate and it reflects on an individual’s ethics.

Type Of Questions

The questions which are generally asked in an interview can be of varied categories like personal questions, domain-based questions and general knowledge questions. Let us talk about all three categories :

1. Personal questions

In my opinion questions lying in this category are the easiest to answer. It is because these questions allow you to choose what you want to portray in front of the interviewer. For example, questions wherein the interviewer asks you to say a few words about yourself; now in such questions, it is advisable that you talk about those hobbies wherein you have some achievements to show or you are extremely passionate about. 

Personal questions could also mean questions related to your hometown or the place you might be currently staying. Thus, it becomes all the more important to be well versed in your locality. Lastly, questions in this category could also be related to why you want to choose the IPM course or what are the goals you have set for yourself related to your career etc. 

2. Domain-specific questions

This category would include questions purely based on your stream or academic-based questions. Now, one might wonder that the test of a candidate’s intelligence is already done after the aptitude test so then what is the point of asking academic-related questions again. The reason why these types of questions are asked is basically to see how much conceptual knowledge you really have. 

I was a student of the commerce stream and so I had prepared questions related to fundamentals of accountancy, brushed up some concepts from the micro as well as macroeconomics etc. Similarly, for students from different streams, it is important that you have a thorough knowledge of the major concepts from 11th and 12th. Having a thorough domain knowledge throws a very good impression in front of the panellists.

3. General knowledge questions

I personally always found these questions the trickiest to answer. General knowledge is like knowledge that isn’t quite general! Well, G.K. isn’t something you can memorise in a day or two. It is more like a continuous process that requires you to read the newspapers and be fairly abreast with the happenings in the world. 

Quite naturally the interviewer does not expect the candidate to know everything because then it would be like asking google. However, having said that the very basic general knowledge questions like the name of the president, the prime minister of India, names of some of the important cabinet ministers along with their portfolios, name of your state’s chief minister etc have to be on your tips.

Apart from this, having little knowledge about any major economic policies implemented by the government and having an overview of the economic situation in the country would be quite helpful in your IPM interview. The most effective way to keep your general knowledge up to date would be by regularly reading the newspaper. Especially the editorial section of the newspaper is very important as they’ll not only help you with G.K related questions but also help you in building a good vocabulary.

Presenting Yourself

As much as it is important to have thorough knowledge about your subjects, it is equally important to present yourself well in front of the panel. As much as you might hate getting that haircut you’ve been pushing for weeks or might hate not looking like a cave human, for an interview it would be my sincere advice to you all that please do make an effort to look presentable. It is always advisable that you wear a light-coloured shirt and dark-coloured pants and a blazer as contrasting colours make you stand out.

Now, this goes for both boys as well as girls. However, for girls wearing Indian formals is also appropriate in interviews as you may have seen girls wearing in civil services interviews. Due to the present situation, many of the interviews happen online. I feel in an online set up looking presentable becomes all the more important. Some pointers for online interviews would be as follows: –

  • It’s always better to have a plain white background as it reduces any distractions for the panellists.
  • You should ensure that you have a good internet connection and should also have a backup connection ready to account for any contingency situations.
  • There should be an appropriate distance between the camera and your face so that you are neither too close to the camera nor too far away.
  • It is better to use earphones or headphones so that you are audible to the panellists.
  • Proper lighting is an extremely important aspect of an online interview. Make sure you are sitting in a well-lit room so that you are clearly visible to the interviewers.

Lastly, I know it’s pretty natural to feel nervous about an interview, but you always need to have faith in yourself. You can make the other person believe that you deserve to get in only if you believe that you are worthy of being in an IIM.

It tends to be a little overwhelming at times because we have our dreams and aspirations hooked onto these little moments in our lives. But I believe that the only thing required to ace any of these IPM interviews would be confidence in yourself, thorough domain knowledge and a reflection of your urge to be a part of a prestigious institution like the IIM. To conclude, I’d just like to say that as long as you believe in your dreams and are passionate about them nothing can ever deter you from achieving them.

If you wish to read about personal experiences of students who have appeared for an IPM interview of their own, you can check out this link .

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